If you fancy the idea of fishing holidays in Ireland, Lough Derg must come high on the menu of potential destinations. Lough Derg is the largest lake on the River Shannon system and is a natural mixed fishery offering superb pike and coarse fishing.
There are so many islands and sheltered bays that offer exciting fishing for bream, tench, rudd, roach and perch, and anglers just keep coming back year after year for the sport, and of course Ireland’s legendary craic.
English angler Gary Banks is one such fisherman who just can’t stay way. With a group of friends he has enjoyed the pike fishing on Lough Derg for more than a decade, and he has always stayed in the same, welcoming place – the Lough Derg holiday houses at Whitegate. It’s one of a number of options of angler-friendly accommodation at Lough Derg available on the website www.loughdergholidayhouses.com .
Here’s what Gary has to say about the holiday houses, and the superb fishing on Lough Derg: “The self catering holiday homes and lodges are ideally situated and offer great accommodation for anglers, with all the facilities you could hope for. I always go with the same group of anglers, there are six in our group including myself and we have plenty of room in the houses.
“There is an outside shed for all your tackle, plenty of space for your cars and a bait fridge freezer inside for all your deadbaits. All the rooms are of a luxury standard and a nice size. The TV room is huge, so on the rainy days you can stay in the house and just relax, watching TV.
“The angler-friendly houses are very close to the shoreline and there is a private boat harbour specially designed for fishermen,” adds Gary.
“We always take our own boats across which are a specialist piece of kit, although you are able to hire a boat from Lorraine that will cope with any wave that Lough Derg will throw at you.
“The harbour itself is perfect for anglers. It’s spacious and very secluded, and even on the windy days it is still calm in the harbour, so your boats are perfectly safe.”
The houses themselves are situated near the small village of Whitegate, which has a convenient store for all the supplies you will need and (of course) the pubs, where you can get a delicious evening meal, a nice pint after those long days on the Lough and the Irish hospitality, which is second to none.
As for the fishing, well Gary has some great advice for how to catch pike on Lough Derg consistently.
“Like any lough, location is the key to success to catching on Lough Derg,” he says. “I always go in the spring after the pike have spawned. The chance of a really big fish is reduced, but we catch twenty-pounders every year, with the best so far going 27lb 12 oz and lots of mid to upper doubles.
“We target areas of shallow water such as Youghal Bay and Portumna. We will start off in about 12ft of water and then move into deeper water of 15–18ft if no pike are found.
“Our methods of choice are lure fishing and dead baiting. The lure fishing for pike on Lough Derg can be explosive at times. When those Irish pike are in a feeding frenzy, it’s almost easy. However those days can be rare, and that is when a deadbait comes into its own. I catch lots of pike back home in the UK on deadbaits, and Ireland is no different. My personal best Irish pike of 27lb 8oz came to dead bait, so I have lots of confidence in this method.
“Covering water is the name of the game. It’s hard work but it can be worth it, and when you come across a group of fish, sport can be hectic. If you fancy a try at this Irish Lough fishing, I promise you, you will not be disappointed. There are also other species of fish to go for such as roach, bream and perch. Lough Derg is famous for its huge roach and bream shoals. In the spring my advice is to head for the boat marinas. For those who put lots of bait in, huge catches are common.
“Remember, if you are coming fishing in Ireland for the first time and you fancy a try at the boat fishing, my advice would be to hire a boat and engine from Lorraine and don’t forget your life jacket. It’s law that you must wear one in Ireland. Safety first. So come on over and give it try. Once you have been once, you will be hooked for life, just like me.”
Lough Derg Fisherman’s Face File
Destination: Lough Derg Holiday Houses, Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland
Type of fishing: Pike, bream, roach, tench, rudd, perch, trout
Accommodation: Angler friendly self-catering holiday homes and lodges
More fishing information on Lough Derg: http://www.loughdergholidayhouses.com/info.php?/fishing/
Tel: 00353 (0) 86 8192195